Title – The Finest Hours (2016)
Director – Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl)
Cast – Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz, Kyle Gallner, John Magaro
Plot – Based on the true story of a 1952 US Coast Guard group from Cape Cod led by boat captain Bernie Webber (Pine) who head out into the midst of raging storm to rescue the doomed crew of freighter the SS Pendleton that has split in half after being battered by the harsh conditions.
“We all live, or we all die”
Review by Eddie on 24/10/2016
In many ways just a good old fashioned adventure/survivalist yarn, Disney’s huge box office flop (rumoured to have lost the studio over $60 million at the box office) The Finest Hours would be a hard film to totally discount and dislike yet there’s an overall sense of could’ve been in Craig Gillespie’s film that makes it a watchable experience that should’ve been quite a bit more.
Gillespie who made a name for himself with unique yarns like Lars and the Real Girl and Million Dollar Arm seems like an odd choice to take on such a straightforward battle against the odds tale and while the director infuses his picture with the sprinkling of originality such as a long take of a message being relayed throughout a sinking ship or some slow motion ocean waves crashing on a boat full of survivors but the films biggest issue and therefore Gillespie’s biggest issue is that The Finest Hours never carves out its own path in the great big ocean of similar films and in the end becomes just one of many where it might just have been something special.
Starting out proceedings by giving us some character background to Chris Pine’s fairly charisma free lead Bernie Webber and his newly minted fiancée Miriam played rather annoyingly by Holliday Grainger, Gillespie struggles to give us the character depth we need in a film of this kind and while Pine is surrounded at various times by the likes of fellow Coast Guards played by Ben Foster and Eric Bana, none of these actors do a whole lot while the crew of the seemingly doomed freighter SS Pendleton fare little better with Casey Affleck and his merry band of determined seaman barely getting a look in. Gillespie also finds minor struggles in conveying the finer details of this true life story and much of the storm or ocean talk gets lost on the ears of viewers who would know little about ocean bars or squalls.
Peppered with some thrilling moments and genuinely exciting set pieces, The Finest Hours is a quality production that’s hampered by a mostly laboured delivery and actors that could be doing a whole lot more had their material played up to their individual strengths. For fans of old school like productions The Finest Hours will be a big hit while the rest of us can enjoy the film in part but wish it had looked to leap a little higher than its seemingly low set pass mark.
2 ½ happy-go-lucky boat chefs out of 5